Blades face hard slog in League One

United front: Matt Lowton (left) wants players to stick together.
United front: Matt Lowton (left) wants players to stick together.
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A QUICK glance across the city will remind Sheffield United followers of the difficulties of trying to get promotion out of League One at the first attempt.

Despite having one of the biggest wage bills in the division, Sheffield Wednesday have struggled to make an impact in the third tier and are destined to finish in mid-table mediocrity.

Matthew Lowton, one of a string of youngsters to break into the first-team at Bramall Lane, is acutely aware of the problems the Owls have encountered since dropping down a level.

“It will be more of a fight in League One,” Lowton told The Star. “We will not walk the league; just look at Sheffield Wednesday. A lot of people thought they would runaway with the league but that has not happened.”

Micky Adams and his troops will wave goodbye to the Championship for the final time at Swansea on Saturday.

A number of senior players are expected to be sold in the summer to help United balance the books in the wake of relegation.

Long-serving midfielder Nick Montgomery is thought to be on Leeds United’s radar while high earners Stephen Quinn, Ched Evans, Darius Henderson and Richard Cresswell could also be offloaded as the South Yorkshire club seek to slash their wage bill, believed to be in the region of £12m.

Lowton said: “We have to rebuild and try to bounce straight back.

“It is going to be a tough battle and hopefully we will keep a hold of our better players and build a squad around them.

“It is going to be a big summer. Whoever comes in and goes, the club need to focus on getting promoted next year so we all have to be in it together.

“We have to bring players in who will be willing to fight for Sheffield United. That is definitely what I want to do and I want us to get back in the Championship straight away.”

Chief executive Trevor Birch has pledged to conduct a ‘root and branch review’ of the club’s operations and has said at the heart of the rebuilding process will be United’s youth system. Lowton, released by Leeds as a teenager, is leading the next generation.

It took the 21-year-old three years to make his mark and establish himself in the first-team but Adams is delighted by his progress.

“He has certainly improved in the time I have been here,” acknowledged Adams.